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As the real estate business continues to change at the speed of light, pricing a home to sell is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals are confronted with on a day-to-day basis. For those who are serious about becoming pricing experts, the National Association of REALTORS®’ newest course, Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA, will teach you the ins and outs of properly pricing properties.

The first step toward earning the new Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) certification, the course is designed to help residential real estate agents and brokers enhance their skills in pricing properties, creating comparative market analyses (CMAs) and guiding clients through the complexities of valuation.

“We often say that the agent has to sell the house twice: once to the buyer, and once to the appraiser,” says Melanie McLane, a real estate professional with Jackson Real Estate, a small, family-owned business in Jersey Shore, Pa.

A second-generation REALTOR®, McLane received REALTOR® Emeritus status (40 years in the business) in 2015—a feat she couldn’t have accomplished without a steadfast commitment to staying current.

“Understanding pricing, valuation and the entire process is critical in today’s market,” says McLane, whose agents will be taking the PSA Certification course this month (at press time).

For Lynn Madison, president of the 16,000-member Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, staying up-to-date with the constantly changing market is critical. “It’s imperative that agents stay on top of the latest issues in the business, as well as the changes in the Code of Ethics, license laws, etc.,” says Madison. “Continuing education is one of the best ways to do this.”

With 30 years of experience under her belt, Madison also teaches NAR and CE courses in over 40 states—a job she’s passionate about.

“Whether we’re representing the buyer or the seller, it’s our responsibility to do a CMA for them when they’re buying or selling,” says Madison. “If we don’t know the basics of how to price properties, we can’t do one of the fundamental duties we owe our clients.”

The course zeroes in even further by focusing on skills that are critical to finding success in today’s market. These include understanding the appraisal process, AVMs, the role of Dodd-Frank and AMCs (Appraisal Management Companies). The course also sheds light on why Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) is a great way to combine an agent’s specialized, local market knowledge with the advantage of a cutting-edge AVM.

“Today, we’re seeing many problems with appraisals and the buyer’s ability to close, and sometimes it’s because we haven’t priced the property properly. We’re also seeing overpriced properties and properties that are selling below market value, which isn’t a problem if the seller is aware, but is a huge problem if agents are misleading sellers as to value,” says Madison.

The course also covers the appraisal side of the issue, teaching real estate professionals about their responsibility in meeting the appraiser, and what to do if the property doesn’t appraise.

But it doesn’t end there. In fact, real estate professionals who earn the Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) certification stand to gain even more knowledge:

  • The purpose and benefits of CMAs, and how to guide clients through them
  • Terminology of pricing and valuation
  • The Code of Ethics as it relates to pricing
  • How to identify appropriate comparables, and where to find information about them
  • The role of supply and demand in pricing
  • How to adjust comparables
  • Specific challenges and special situations in making adjustments
  • How to work with appraisers
  • How to hone your pricing skills and practices

Available online at the Center for REALTOR® Development (OnlineLearning.Realtor) and in the classroom (locations can be found at, there’s never been a better time to take your education to the next level. To sweeten the deal even further, you can get 25 percent off the PSA online course price now through July 15 with the code RISPSA.

“I always urge students to get the most bang for their buck,” says McLane, who has heard nothing but rave reviews from students who have gone through the Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA course and the instructors who teach it.

“If you have to spend a certain number of hours in CE, make them count,” concludes McLane.

For more information, please visit